With summer still holding on and the US Open in full swing, it’s the perfect time for tennis! But while it’s always enjoyable to play a couple sets, a couple hours in the sun can also make you vulnerable to the damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Besides sunburns and premature aging, overexposure to the sun can even lead to skin cancer. Professional tennis players like John Newcombe of Australia and Felix Mantilla of Spain have had very public battles with skin cancer. So what can you do to stay protected? Don’t worry: we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tips to keep your skin protected from the sun while you’re out on the tennis courts.
Slop On Sweat-Proof And Non-Greasy Sunscreen
You may remember Patrick Rafter and Anna Kournikova with white zinc sunscreen on their face. But unfortunately, a lot of tennis players doesn’t apply sunscreen. They complain that sunscreen drips into their eyes, or effects on their grip. Tennis players tend to sweat a lot, mostly they play on high temperatures and humid days. When the sweat mixes with sunscreen, it can form a gooey substance that drips into your eyes and makes your hands slippery. To avoid that, search for sweat-resistant sports sunscreens, that doesn’t sting your eyes. Some tennis players wear a sun visor or cap that covers their forehead entirely and avoid applying sunscreen on their forehead.
While all clothes provide at least some protection, some materials do a better job than others. In particular, UV protective clothing designed for athletes is the way to go. These clothes contain an Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF), which tells you how well the material shields your skin from UV rays. Make sure you also throw on a hat to protect your head and face from the sun. There are tennis caps and visors that are specially designed to block the sun and shade your face. There are some UPF clothing specifically designed for tennis players like TennisCompany that offers different UV protected tennis apparels.
Slide On Sunglasses
Think it’s just your skin that can get damaged by the sun? Think again! The former tennis player, Chris Evert is one of the victims of sun damage. She explained to a tennis magazine that UV rays had permanently damaged her eyes. She won three Wimbledon singles titles along with two at the Australian Open, six at the United States Open and a record seven at the French Open. These days, to maximize performance, you can find sunglasses made for tennis or other outdoor activities. These usually have a sturdier build so that they’ll stay on your face even when you’re constantly moving around. Some also offer an extra peripheral vision to help you better track the tennis ball.
Use Sun Index
Sun Index is a great smartphone app to have with you when you’re heading out to the tennis courts. Available for iOS and Android, it lets you know how long you can stay outside before getting a sunburn. It’s also got a lot of other neat features like letting you know when the sun’s rays are strongest during the day and reminding you when it’s time to put on more sunscreen.
Find The Right Time
The sun’s rays are most harsh when it’s directly overhead in the middle of the day. If possible, try to head out to the courts earlier in the morning or later in the evening. If you’re playing in the middle of the day, make sure you take breaks and seek shade in between matches and sets. Sun Index can also let you know when the UV rays will be the harshest during the day so you can plan accordingly. You could also consider playing in indoor tennis courts.